107 Customhouse Quay, central Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 9am Saturdays; closes late. Fully closed Sundays
Porridge $16, Granola $14; Immigrant’s Son coffee, t-leaf-T tea
Pravda (meaning ‘truth’ in Russian) is a fairly fancy place, at least when it comes to its decor and the aproned wait staff. It is also popular, and after previously being shunted into the not so posh seats at the front I booked breakfast ahead this time. It worked too. We got a table in the corner at the back upstairs, where you can get the full, rich experience of chandeliers, deep red carpet, mirrors and dimmed lighting.
The porridge came in a nice blue bowl and was made with oat flakes and milk. It was topped with a generous heaping of toasted coconut shred, dried goji berries and pistachio nuts. There was so much coconut that you couldn’t really take a bite of the porridge without a mouthful of it as well. And in the centre there was a dollop of dulce de leche (a caramel-like substance made from sweetened milk). I don’t feel the latter added much and crunchy peanut butter, poached fruit, fresh fruit or berry compote, would all have been better in my view.
A generous jug of milk was served with the porridge. The Americano coffee was fine, with separate hot water in a stainless steel jug.
I recall some annoying background music being played quite loud when we arrived at 7.45am on a weekday, but after a while I forgot about it. Maybe it was turned down or the tune changed. Anyway, even when half to two-thirds full over the next 30 minutes there was no noticeable conversation noise, a benefit perhaps of the high ceiling, upholstered seating and carpeted floor. And the potentially noisy espresso machine is far away near the door.
Pravda make great claims about their cheese scones, so on two other occasions I’ve made the point of trying them with a cup of tea. The first time was mid-afternoon and it was the last scone left. I wasn’t very impressed. The second time was a much better experience. The scone was just out of the oven (at 10am) and came with a crunchy outer crust. It was a bit salty for my taste, but otherwise good, and amongst the best in Wellington. But it still wasn’t as good as the yardstick, those served by Nikau. And I must say that the butter served in a foil and plastic packet here does lower the tone for an otherwise posh eatery. It was also too cold to spread easily.
During the annual Visa Wellington On a Plate food festival you can sign up for a session on how to make the Pravda scone, but you are sworn to secrecy. It books out quickly each year.
The Earl Grey tea came in a decent sized, non-dribbling pot and the tea cup was a proper teacup shape. It wasn’t very strong, so I didn’t need the milk or extra hot water (not served).
Nice environment if you can get one of the good tables up the stairs and favour opulent decor in dark interiors. Porridge was very good if you are not averse to coconut or dulce de leche. Cheese scones good, tea and coffee average.
Reviewed October 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.